If you’re anything like myself, it’s Week 3 of your fantasy season, and already we’re agonizing over the expectations for our stars who have let us down, sobbing over potential season-ending injuries to our favorite players (please be alright, James White), or lamenting our interest in a “Zero-RB” concept for the year. It’s with that in mind that I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to sit down with every one of you and wax over some of the most exciting and/or heartwarming stories of the weekend. Let’s dive in!
Will the Real Legatron Please Stand Up?
It feels like Justin Tucker has been in the league since I was a child, and I think this speaks more to his consistency and steadfast nature more than anything else. Oftentimes, I would relish being one of the last few teams to take a kicker, politely snagging Tucker and running him out there every week. Feels like our time of sliding away with Tucker like the best meal remaining after everyone picked up their buffet plate may be over. On Sunday, Tucker showcased fully just how dynamic he is, as he made himself the primo kicker in the league and an absolute force of offense, clutch kicking a 66-yard rocket to win a tight one up against the Lions as the clock expired. The NFL’s most accurate kicker of all time, at just under 92% made, the fastest kicker to 1,000 points, AND now the longest field goal in a domed stadium, Tucker is an absolute triumph for good stories in pro football. Adam Vinatieri should start checking in his rearview mirror.
JUSTIN TUCKER FROM 66 YARDS
— PFF (@PFF) September 26, 2021
The Rams Put the NFL on Notice
On Sunday, the Bucs and Rams were in a matchup that most had likely locked up as a “difficult matchup that the Bucs will likely win” before facing the Pats next week on the road, for Tom Brady’s homecoming. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, Matthew Stafford and his newly shining Rams had other ideas. While Brady eclipsed Stafford’s passing yardage by almost 100 yards, it was increasingly clear as this game went on that Stafford both had something to prove AND maybe the Lions were the issue, not their play-caller. Stafford was efficient, at ease with the offense (which is still downright amazing to see just three weeks into his first season here), and ended the game with a 134 rating. While Robert Woods may miss his Jared Goff connection, and it may be early, it seems as if the Rams may have pulled some amazing juju in bringing over Stafford in this deal, as they put the NFC on notice that they are the best team in the conference for the time being. Desean Jackson ramped up for three pass catches for 120 yards. Cooper Kupp is looking like the best wide receiver in the land, with a 9 for 96 games and two touchdown scores. No Darrell Henderson, no problem.
Brady and company were able to keep the game within a couple of scores, but for all intents and purposes, this game wasn’t close, and likely put the Rams in the sights of any other NFC hopefuls along their path. The poise showcased by Stafford is an amazing thing to watch, and this team is starting to look just as fun to watch as the Bucs of last season. Let Desean roam!
VINTAGE DESEAN JACKSON
— PFF (@PFF) September 26, 2021
Young QBs Find Their Footing in Week 3
If you want to raise up the ghosts of difficult drafts from weeks prior, some of the saltiest owners were those who spent somewhere between a third and seventh-round pick to secure Josh Allen or Justin Herbert and were less than happy at the output thus far. In two games, Allen had combined for just under 450 yards passing, while Herbert had two ultimately easy matchups where he put up almost 700 combined yards but tied those off with 3 picks! All seemed to be forgiven in Week 3, where Herbert and Allen essentially doubled their outputs over the course of the first two weeks and made new friends in their offenses. Through three weeks, one of the NFL’s greatest successes so far is Mike Williams on the Chargers, and his utter dominance continued on Sunday. Williams ended up the top receiver of the game, catching 7 passes for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns, and has quickly made himself the name to be found on the Chargers offense, oddly taking the mantle with force from Keenan Allen. Where Herbert had toe-tapping and a large endzone presence from Williams, the Bills had Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders, who combined for 16 receptions and 192 yards! If you were worried about your young quarterbacks, I think Allen and Herbert quickly put your worries to bed. Now, check out some Mike Williams dominance below, and let’s move on to our fourth moment!
— QB List (@TheQBlist) September 26, 2021
What are You Doing, Niners?
Sunday Night Football was an exciting watch this week, as we got to witness the former coaching buddies of LaFleur and Shanahan face-off in San Fransisco. Aaron Rodgers had a horrific showing in week one, and you couldn’t go anywhere on the internet without someone either calling him old/washed up/done, and it clearly took a bit to heart for the gunslinger. In week 2, Rodgers unleashed on the Lions for four touchdown passes, and not to be outdone, dismantled the Niners while they were still in the midst of celebrating their late-game lead. In the final moments, under 40 seconds remaining, Aaron Rodgers drove the Packers down the field fresh off his disgust from watching an uncalled penalty that more than likely should have knocked Devante Adams out of the game, as headhunting Niners defenders attempted to take his head clear off the body. With the final seconds remaining, Rodgers activated Rodg-mode and helped the Packers take way to a winning field goal off of Mason Crosby’s leg, leading to a 26th game-winning drive. If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a billion times. Stop giving Rodgers time to win the game late. He’ll always make you pay. And pay, they did. Ending this game on the kick and a team that was seen as marked for dead after just one week is now 2-1 and heading home to likely take down a lost Steelers squad.
Teams with Youth at the Helm Attempt to Find a Voice
The week wasn’t all gumdrops, lollipops, and chocolate fountains. We saw a lot of teams hoping to seek some sense of meaning coming out of week three just as unshaped as they were prior. The Patriots have been without Brady for just over a year, and three games into the Mac Jones era has some fans are already feeling a bit of heartbreak over the Brady of yore stomping a hole in the NFC, as they look to gain their second win within the first month of the season (I hate to admit it likely will NOT happen when Tampa Bay arrives in New England for week 4.)
Mac is averaging just over 200 yards per game passing but was forced to throw 55 times in a loss this week to the Saints. There have been moments of accuracy and excitement watching Mac zip passes to Jakobi Meyers, or watching a late-game throwaway touchdown to Kendrick Bourne where he shook off a defender and balanced his way into the corner of the endzone, but for the most part, this team has all the makings of a “work in progress” for a couple of years squad.
Not to be outdone, the Urban Meyer-led Jacksonville Jaguars have stated they have basically faced Alabama every week thus far, and have had a tough time finding any footing themselves, as Trevor Lawrence has seen that the jump from collegiate to pro football to be more difficult than anticipated, even as a first overall pick can see. 219 yards, a single touchdown, and 2 picks will not help you win any games at an NFL level. Without Travis Etienne for the season we are left attempting to find the bright spots of James Robinson among the wreckage, as he was finally able to hold onto the ball for 134 all-purpose yards.
Both teams above have some identity to find, but not much has been more worrisome than the Kansas City Chiefs going 1-2 and struggling to involve #1 or #2 overall wide receiver Tyreek Hill in their high flying offense. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has thus far looked like a bust to be seen, but as a player that was hand-picked over other collegiate standout rushers, this team has a lot to speak for after being outpaced in two of three weeks.
We’ve got some interesting plot lines to follow heading into week 4, that’s absolutely for sure!
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